Chargers let another lead slip away in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Bengals.
Cincinnati won the toss and chose to receive to start the game. They immediately went on a 16 play, 91-yard touchdown drive.
San Diego couldn’t manage a score in the first quarter but did make it on the scoreboard to begin the second quarter.
Of the 13 plays, only three were running plays, all handoffs went to running back Ryan Mathews.
On the Bengals next drive the Chargers’ defensive stepped up yet again.
Linebacker Demorrio Williams intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton’s pass. The ball was intended for A.J. Green but picked off by Williams and returned for a touchdown.
It was Williams' second interception of the season.
The Chargers’ defense has six touchdowns this season, five interceptions returned for six points and one when linebacker Shaun Philips recovered the ball in the end zone.
The Bengals then drove down the field and scored a field goal to even it up at 10.
Chargers scored a field goal right before halftime to take the lead, but it was the last time they would have it for the rest of the game.
“We’re flat as hell in the second half,” fullback Le’Ron McClain said.
Neither team could score in the third quarter but the Bengals began their winning drive with 11:53 left in the fourth.
Dalton rushed up the middle from six yards out to punch it into the end zone.
And yet again, the Chargers blew a fourth quarter lead.
“We can’t run the ball right now,” said head coach Norv Turner. “We’re struggling to run the ball against a front like that, so it certainly puts a burden on the offensive line.”
San Diego had four rushing first downs. Notoriously immobile quarterback Phillip Rivers had two of those.
While the Chargers are not mathematically out of the playoff race, realistically, they haven’t been able to put together a complete game in months, and that’s what it will take to win again the rest of the four teams they’re scheduled to face.
They’ve lost seven of their last eight, the only win, has been to one of the only NFL teams struggling as much as they are, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Next week the Bolts travel to Pittsburgh. The Steelers have been playing without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Despite that, they managed to beat the same Ravens squad the Chargers lost to last week.